Phoenix-based hip hop duo Shining Soul consists of Tohono O'odham rapper MC Liaison (Alex Soto) and Chicano rapper The Bronze Candidate (Franco). The two create highly political music, focused on the Southwest's many issues with racism and violence in the name of border security. Shining Soul are particularly concerned about militarization on Indigenous lands and the divisive effects of arbitrary borders. In November, the group discussed their philosophy and the single "Papers," which is about guilty-until-proven-innocent spirit of Arizona's SB 1070.
"SB 1070 just made us more of a police state," Soto told Occupy.com. "In the Tohono O’odham nation, my people have been stuck literally in the middle of this war that’s been happening. With the push of NAFTA in 1994, we had an influx of economic refugees migrate here from the so-called line to the South, and of course, the state cracked down. So Nogales, El Paso, the bigger cities, Tijuana — all got locked down, because that’s a given to lock that spot. So what happens is [immigrants] have to go through the hottest, most rural, and craziest areas, which happen to be where I’m from."
"I’m a Chicano," Franco added. "I come from generations in the valley of what we call Phoenix. I’m pretty much a desert person as well. But three generations is not that long, people like my boy Alex, MC Liaison, he’s been here since time immemorial. So what does that look like when I’m trying to claim space here?"
The duo's latest track, "No Mercy," addresses some of the same themes. "Profiting off our demise as a raza and converting Indigenous territories to paramilitary police states is big business for government officials, corporations, and NGO's promoting these reforms," says the text at YouTube. "We need to be in the business of asking critical questions to be a stronger, united force in responding to this attack and fight back!"
For more on Shining Soul, visit shiningsoul-music.blogspot.com. Here's the clip for "No Mercy," followed by "Papers"